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Fed judges: Felony inmates should get vote

Fed judges: Felony inmates should get vote

Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 8:01 pm
By: AP

 

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — In a decision that could give momentum to other efforts to expand voting to inmates, a federal appeals court ruled that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote in Washington state. There’s a patchwork of laws across the nation concerning restoration of felons’ voting rights, but only Maine and Vermont allow those behind bars to cast ballots. The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned the 2000 ruling of a district judge in Spokane. That judge had ruled that Washington state’s felon disenfranchisement law did not violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former prison inmate from Bellevue. The two appellate judges ruled that disparities in the state’s justice system “cannot be explained in race-neutral ways.” Published in The Messenger 1.6.10

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